The demoscene is an internet subculture that has managed to stay cool for decades. And as the winning entry in a recent demo competition in Tokyo proves, the demos just keep getting better.
If you’re not familiar with the term, “demos” refer to algorithms written by a programmer or group of programmers to generate graphics and music. The idea is to use the smallest bit of code — often just hundreds of bytes — to create the most beautiful intro. As we’ve explained before, it’s an art form that emerged in the 1990s as programmers working to crack video games would insert a little personalised intro at the beginning of their cracked file, like a signature or flourish.
Today, the demoscene is more about competing to see who can do the most with the least programming, often at competitions — like the Tokyo Demo Fest, which wrapped up this weekend. The winner of the combined demo category for 4K demos — 4K as in 4096 bytes — was this brain-boggling piece Optical Circuit, created by 0x4015. Check it out (in sadly compressed form) above.